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The 17 best PBA photos of 2017

Sure, the PBA has seen some trying times this year but to say  that the league is dying would be complete exaggeration. The games were still good. the stories were still compelling, and the stars were still shining bright. Was it a perfect season? Not a chance. But the PBA is still doing relative well. Well enough that everyone was happy. For the most part. And to celebrate a year that has come and gone, here are some of the best photos captured by ABS-CBN Sports for 2017, in no particular order of course but all of them are great. Happy New Year and here's to another great year for the PBA and basketball in general. Let's do this.   James Yap playing outside the Purefoods franchise? Still weird. James Yap and PJ Simon playing against each other? Weirder.   Allein Maliksi is without a doubt the most unapologetic scorer in the PBA. He had a run in the Philippine Cup where he was setting new career highs for every game and Star was destroying opponents by 25 points. He's with Blackwater now though.   2017 was not a good year for Alaska. Still, it's nice to see Calvin Abueva still Beastin' out there. Never change, Calvin.   Now that they're both healthy at the same time, here's to seeing more head-to-head games between this two. The PBA and Philippine basketball in general needs more of June Mar Fajardo vs. Greg Slaughter.   Terrence Romeo: scoring champion, fashion icon, king of swag both on and off the court. My goodness, bro.   You think Justin Brownlee is clutch? Why don't you ask the barangay. Pretty sure they will say hell yes Justin Brownlee is clutch.   This photo pretty much sums up The Rematch for coacn Norman Black and the Meralco Bolts. We need to see a Ginebra-Meralco part 3 in the Governors' Cup for 2018. Please.   The Fast and the Furious forever. There are no words for this. Happy retirement, Mr. Helterbrand.   If everything goes according to plan, we can call this the smiles that launched a Grand Slam. The PBA better be ready for the super, superteam that is the San Miguel Beermen with Christian Standhardinger.   The Gin Kings might as well own the Philippine Arena. Ginebra is setting attendance records left and right at the massive INC facility. More importantly, they keep on winning there. The barangay is 5-1 in Bulacan including one Game 7 win for another championship.   James Yap used to be the face of the Purefoods franchise and Marc Pingris was the team's heart and soul. Now, Ping is all of that and then some.   Taken just moments before the Beermen completed a Philippine Cup hat trick to capture the Perpetual trophy. This San Miguel team is a special group.   Chito Narvasa's highly-controversial term as PBA Commissioner ended this year. However, perhaps his most controversial move was approving the much-maligned Kia-San Miguel trade for the no. 1 pick of the 2017 Draft. This was from the press conference that triggered the PBA Board impasse. Overall just not a good look. It was impactful, but not good.   He might be slowing down a little bit but Jayson Castro is still a force to be reckoned with. The Blur might just get to a new gear in 2018. Watch out.   He finally beat his inner demons and Mac Cardona found his way back in the PBA this year. Welcome back, Captain Hook.   Kiefer Ravena was ready for the PBA two years ago. Two games into his first pro season, the Phenom is already proving his worth. This was his first PBA dunk. There should be more to come.   Nash Racela is one brave soul. He spent the entire season trying to beat San Miguel teams in order to win a title for TNT. The KaTropa didn't end up winning anything but coach Nash sure got into the skin of the SMC teams. Here he is trying to plead for a foul because officials are supposedly favoring Ginebra. While that's not proven, if 2017 was any indication, 2018 should be even more fun for coach Nash and the San Miguel teams.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @paullintag8.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

HEADS UP: 10 sporting events to watch out for in 2018

2017 has come and gone, and it delivered some exciting sporting moments that has every sports fan clamoring for more. Worry not, though, as 2018 looks primed to satisfy even the most die-hard Pinoy sports aficionado with its bevy of local and international sporting events. Let's welcome the upcoming year with 10 of the most exciting sporting events to watch out for this 2018.   NCAA 93 & UAAP 80 VOLLEYBALL The cagers are out, and the spikers are in. Volleyball season begins this January 4 with NCAA season 93, followed by the 81st season of the UAAP this February. NCAA volleybelles are once again ready to take center court, and the defending women's champion Arellano University Lady Chiefs, led by heavy hitters Jovie Prado and Regine Arocha are banking on their undisputed team play to propel them to another title. Playing inspired volleyball throughout the season, the Lady Chiefs stunned the thrice-to-beat San Sebastian Lady Stags in the Finals last year, ultimately ending Grethcel Soltones' collegiate career with a dud. Rising stars like San Beda's Ces Racraquin, JRU's Karen Montojo also make the upcoming NCAA volleyball season worth waiting for. UAAP volleyball begins a month later the NCAA tournament, but expect the field to be even more tumultuous. With no clear-cut number 2 team to challenge the two-time defending champions DLSU Lady Spikers, it will be a toss-up against basically the other seven schools to step up. Dangerous squads include the much-improved Adamson Lady Falcons, last year's pleasant surprise UST, the dynastic Ateneo Lady Eagles, and the intact NU Lady Bulldogs and FEU Lady Tamaraws. NBA ALL-STAR GAME & 2018 NBA FINALS The annual showcase of the NBA's brightest stars just got a major revamp. That's right, the league has done away with the traditional East-West teams, and will now have a playground-type pool selection of players between its two captains when the exhibition tips off in Los Angeles. This raises a lot of interesting questions: Will the captains pick their teammates or will they go with a more controversial pick and select a rival? Will we able to know the order of the draft? Will this actually work in making the game better? While answers to those questions might not be answered until a few months, one thing's for sure, the NBA Finals, the spectacle that actually counts, will be epic. Will we be treated to Golden State Warriors vs Cleveland Cavaliers Pt. 4? Or will another squad swoop in to spoil the party? The league has indeed improved, with surprising teams like the Milwaukee Bucks, the Indiana Pacers, the Detroit Pistons out in the East already staking claim to playoff spots, and the Wild, Wild, West staying true to its monicker. The Houston Rockets and the perennial powerhouse San Antonio Spurs are still the favorites to pull the rug under the Warriors, while the Oklahoma City Thunder is right behind. Either way, with months of hoops already invested in it, the NBA Finals will surely be another explosive one, as it always is.   HOMECOMING QUEEN Alyssa Valdez spent the majority of 2017 overseas, spreading her wings in Taiwan with volleyball club Attack Line. This 2018 though, The Phenom plans on staying in the Philippines, armed with two year’s worth of international experience to focus on her home club team in the Creamline Cool Smashers.  "Next year, I'm planning to focus sa Creamline. Just this year, I travelled a lot talaga. They supported me throughout, esepcially doon sa National Team stint ko. They sacrificed a lot for me talaga. I think I have to focus sa team ko talaga,” she said last week.Alyssa Valdez just got scarier.   PINOY HOOP DREAMS: REMY MARTIN, KOBE PARAS  Two proudly Pinoy ballers based in the U.S. set out this 2018 to continue shooting for our island nation’s humble hoop dreams. Kobe Paras is still serving residency this 2017-2018 season with the California State University-Northridge Matadors, but his development is sure to be a joy to watch. The 6’6” Pinoy swingman accomplished a tour of duty with Gilas Pilipinas earlier in the year, and many Pinoys saw why we should all be excited about high-flying forward. Remy Martin, a 5’11” point guard dazzled in his first few games with the Arizona State Sun Devils, with his athleticism, explosiveness and feisty defense. The Filipino-American cager is proud of his roots and hopes to represent flag and country with Gilas Pilipinas in the future.   WHO (OR WHAT) IS NEXT FOR MANNY PACQUIAO? The never-ending saga of what’s next for Manny Pacquiao looks like it'll seep into 2018.  Following a rather controversial loss to Australian boxer Jeff Horn, Pacquiao has been “courting” the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr. for a rematch, even taking to Instagram to ”greet” MMA superstar Conor McGregor before finally admitting that he’s been in talks with the Irish fighter’s camp. Whether he actually retires from boxing for good, or takes on another foe in the squared circle, one thing’s for sure: we’ll all have our eyes on Manny Pacquiao’s next move.   2018 WORLD CUP RUSSIA™ After four years, the best of world football will once again converge, this time in Russia to crown the Kings of the beautiful sport. The stage is set, the groups are finalized, and the 32 squads are promising the best 30-day football extravaganza in the hopes of dethroning defending champions Germany this June. Some group stage clashes to look out for are Germany vs Mexico, England vs Belgium, Portugal vs Spain, to name a few. June couldn’t come soon enough.   CHRISTIAN STANDHARDINGER'S PBA DEBUT No PBA rookie has probably come into the league as pro-ready as the Filipino-German standout Christian Standhardinger. The 6’9” big man was the consensus top overall pick of the 2017 PBA draft, and was also at the center of the controversial trade that sent Kia Picanto’s rights to the number 1 selection to the already-dominant San Miguel. While the trade did go down, so did former commissioner Chito Narvasa. Standhardinger’s entry to the PBA has come at a cost, but San Miguel is more than ready to wait one more conference to bulk up their already stacked squad. Seeing Standharinger play alongside 6’11” center and reigning MVP June Mar Fajardo, versatile forward Arwind Santos, and the Beermen’s bevy of guards in Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, and Chris Ross, is definitely a sight to see, just look at how he's tearing it up in the ASEAN Basketball League.    2018 ASIAN GAMES INDONESIA The Philippines’ less than stellar performance at the 2017 Southeast Asian Games was met with widespread flak. Not directed at our athletes however, but aimed at our sports development and governing body for its subpar work in getting our sports representatives ready. While the 2018 Asian Games isn’t so far away, a handful of Pinoy medalists from the SEA Games are going into the continental meet with high hopes. After dominating the SEA Games’ triathlon event, our Filipino endurance athletes, led by gold medalists Kim Mangrobang, and Nikko Huelgas, are once again primed to take home hardware. Marathoner Mary Joy Tabal, and boxers John Marvin, and Eumir Marcial, all gold medalists at Malaysia, are all bright spots that could soon unravel into full-fledged stars come 2018.   GILAS PILIPINAS IN THE FIBA WORLD CUP QUALIFIERS It’s official, basketball is coming home to the Philippines this 2023 by way of the FIBA World Cup, but Gilas Pilipinas will first have to try its luck in the 2019 meet. After dealing with Chinese Taipei and Japan this 2017 for a perfect 2-0 slate in the qualifiers, Gilas Pilipinas still has to face the Japanese anew, and the powerhouse Australian team early in 2018. A good showing against these squads will help Gilas strengthen its bid to international basketball’s biggest stage before we actually host the event in six years’ time.   UAAP 81 BASKETBALL UAAP season 80 just came to an end, but the next season just got way more interesting. Aside from the title defense of the intact Ateneo Blue Eagles and their ongoing rivalry with La Salle, a certain move by a coach has shaken up the league. With Aldin Ayo reportedly accepting the job as the new head coach of the struggling University of Sto. Tomas, we might just be witnesses to the rebirth of the once proud basketball program under the fiery mentor. That, and the way the DLSU Green Archers can adjust from the departure of Ayo and former two-time MVP Ben Mbala, key cogs to their season 79 championship run. The tight race for the MVP award will also be one to watch, with Mbala gone, it’s up to the local stars to step up to the challenge......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 31st, 2017

On point: Thomas making progress, could join Cavs earlier

By Tom Withers, Associated Press INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — Day by day, dribble by dribble, Isaiah Thomas looks a little more like an All-Star point guard — like himself. And just maybe like one who can rescue the reeling Cavaliers. Thomas has been increasing the intensity of his workouts and is making strong progress in his recovery from a serious hip injury that ended his 2016 season in Boston and delayed his debut with Cleveland. As Cavs coach Tyronn Lue and a member of Cleveland’s medical staff kept an eye on him from an adjacent floor at Cleveland Clinic Courts, Thomas broke a healthy sweat during a workout Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) under the guidance of assistant coach Phil Handy, who fired him passes and praise. Thomas worked on his three-pointer, man-to-man defense, conditioning, ball handling and free throws as he nears a return that may be coming sooner than imagined. Isaiah Thomas doing more and more. #Cavs pic.twitter.com/hdttYp9jxx — Tom Withers (@twithersAP) November 6, 2017 Although the team has not disclosed any change from its original timetable estimate of the end of December, it’s apparent that Thomas is getting closer. At 4-6, and lacking a second scorer to complement LeBron James, the Cavs might be tempted to rush Thomas along. But Lue said it’s imperative for the team to stick with its plan so as not to harm the 28-year-old. “We have to make sure he’s 100 percent,” Lue said Monday (Tuesday, PHL time) as the Cavs regrouped following an embarrassing loss to the Atlanta Hawks. “We have to worry about him as a player and a person. If he’s not right, not healthy, we don’t want to rush him back to set him back even more.” Thomas isn’t keeping his status any kind of secret. In the first few weeks of his rehab, he kept a lower profile as he worked out in the team’s facility away from reporters and cameras. Lately, he’s been front and center, giving everyone a glimpse of the strides he’s made in coming back from a torn labrum. Lue credited Cleveland’s training staff with a slow, steady approach in bringing along Thomas, who came to the Cavs in the blockbuster trade last summer that sent Kyrie Irving to the Boston Celtics. Irving and the Celtics have won nine straight and lead the Eastern Conference. Meanwhile, Cleveland has remained patient, although it’s clear that Thomas can’t wait to get back onto the floor in meaningful games. I️ just wanna HOOP!!!!! — Isaiah Thomas (@Isaiah_Thomas) November 6, 2017 “I just wanna HOOP!!!!!” he tweeted Sunday night (Monday, PHL time). The Cavs need him. Without Irving, the Eastern Conference champions lack a proven scorer to take some pressure off James. Thomas won’t help Cleveland’s suspect defense. In fact, it might be a little worse with him on the court, but its offense would go to another level with Thomas. He can drive. He can shoot. He can get to the line. “We still have a 30-point scorer, All-Star point guard that’s coming soon,” James said recently. “So that’s exciting.” Once he returns, Thomas is expected to move into the starting lineup, with Derrick Rose coming off the bench and running the Cavs’ second unit. It’s been dreadful starts by the Cavs’ first five that have been at the heart of their early struggles. Thomas could fix that, but until he’s ready, the Cavs have to come out with more energy and a greater sense of urgency. More Isaiah. pic.twitter.com/Gijxm5fUXc — Tom Withers (@twithersAP) November 6, 2017 Thomas should also help Cleveland’s woeful three-point shooting. The Cavs enter Tuesday night’s (Wednesday, PHL time) game against Milwaukee 25th in the league in three-point accuracy (33 percent) and tied for 16th in three-pointers made per game. Thomas made a Celtics record 245 3-pointers last season and knocked down at least one in 57 straight games. Against the Hawks, the Cavs started 3-of-25 from behind the arc and finished 10-of-36 — thanks mostly to Kyle Korver heating up during a fourth-quarter comeback. “We have guys that can shoot the ball,” said Kevin Love, who was taken to the hospital Sunday (Monday, PHL time) after falling ill. “I don’t know what it says on pace, but last year we really pushed the ball with ’Bron and Ky and really opened up the floor. But we’re just not shooting the ball well from three, and that has to change.” There need to be other changes, and Lue said it’s time for his team to begin making them. “Just have to keep attacking it,” he said. “Have to keep showing film and continue to keep talking about it. I think guys are embarrassed and we should be embarrassed of how we’re getting beat. Teams that we’re playing, having guys out, key guys out and still not being able to win. We all have to continue to keep searching and continue to keep fighting and continue to play hard.” And at some point, they might get some help......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsNov 7th, 2017

‘Suicide Squad’ soundtrack tops Billboard 200 chart

The soundtrack for comic book movie "Suicide Squad" took top billing on the weekly U.S. Billboard 200 charts on Monday in the best showing for a film soundtrack since "Pitch Perfect 2" in May 2015......»»

Category: newsSource:  mb.com.phRelated NewsAug 16th, 2016

Iconic Filipino Designer Pitoy Moreno Passed Away at 92

Binibining Pilipinas Charities announced that Jose "Pitoy" Moreno passed away yesterday afternoon at the Manila Doctor's Hospital. The iconic designer suffered from a heart attack at 2:48 p.m. Rappler reports that even if he was known to be 87, his grandson John Paul Cruz said that he was already 92. Pitoy Moreno was hailed internationally as the Fashion Czar of Asia with his works showing up in international publications like Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. His signature terno was worn not just by people of society, but First Ladies, and even European royalty. It's sad to know that we have lost a fashion icon. Our condolences to his family! [Inquirer, Rappler, and ABS-CBN News] ...Keep on reading: Iconic Filipino Designer Pitoy Moreno Passed Away at 92.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 16th, 2018

Pitch Perfect 3 review: Out of tune

The most unsurprising thing about Trish Sie's Pitch Perfect 3, a film that seems resigned to being bereft of any surprises, is that it isn't very good. Tired and desperate Let's face it. While Elizabeth Banks' Pitch Perfect 2 was deliciously entertaining despite simply rehashing the first film's mostly punchline-filled ........»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 15th, 2018

Even without Serena, Aussie Open women s field still tough

By Justin Bergman, Associated Press MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Without defending champion Serena Williams in the draw at the Australian Open, there's certainly an opportunity for another player to go on a surprising run and emerge as a first-time Grand Slam champion. Sloane Stephens and Jelena Ostapenko did it last year. Just don't describe the first Grand Slam of the year as "more open" than usual. "Whenever I get asked that question, it always comes across in really kind of an almost negative way instead of acknowledging how many great players we have," Johanna Konta, who reached the semifinals of Wimbledon last year, said in her pre-tournament news conference Saturday. "The depth in women's tennis, I really do believe in the last few years, has gotten so strong," she added. "There's no straight sailing to the quarters or semis. It doesn't exist." Stephens agrees the Australian Open field is still extremely tough, even without Williams, the 23-time major winner. Williams withdrew from the tournament to recover from health issues after a complicated childbirth in September. "There's a lot of great players," Stephens said. "It's up for grabs." A new face will be holding the trophy at Melbourne Park in two weeks. The No. 1-ranking changed seven times in 2017, with five different women assuming top spot — three for the first time. Top-ranked Simona Halep is looking to finally break through and win her first major after twice finishing runner-up. She won the season-opening Shenzhen Open in China, but has mixed results at Melbourne Park, losing in the first round the last two years. "I don't feel pressure. I feel OK. I feel fit. I feel ready to start," Halep said. "I have one more goal: to win a Grand Slam." Stephens made a stellar run to the U.S. Open title after missing several months with an injured left foot. She's struggled to adjust to the sudden stardom that's come with being a Grand Slam champion — losing seven straight matches since September — but believes she can find her game again in Melbourne. "I think it's always a tough transition when you go from not playing tennis for 11 months to winning a Grand Slam," she said. "I like to just stay in my own little bubble and do my own thing. ... It's kind of been what I'm trying to do." There are plenty of other contenders. Ostapenko, now 20, rocketed up the rankings after her stunning win at the French Open. Venus Williams is a threat at 37 years old after finishing runner-up to her sister last year. Angelique Kerber, the 2016 Australian Open winner, won the Sydney International title on Saturday. Garbine Muguruza is the reigning Wimbledon champion, though her health has been in question at the start of the new year. Caroline Wozniacki had a career-reviving 2017 season and could return to the No. 1 ranking for the first time in six years with a strong showing in Melbourne. Maria Sharpova, the 2008 winner, returns after missing last year's Australian Open because of a drug suspension. And then there's Elina Svitolina, who earned her 10th tour title last week at the Brisbane International. She has a shot at No. 1 during the Australian Open. "I had a great week in Brisbane. Of course, I'm confident," she said. But she added that isn't enough in the constantly shifting, ultra-competitive women's game. "Everyone wants to win a Grand Slam," Svitolina said. "So, I try to find my way, what can help me to be there, to be ready for the fight.".....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 13th, 2018

Angelica Panganiban on falling in love again: ‘May kaba lang’

After being heartbroken from her previous relationship, actress Angelica Panganiban said she is ready to open her heart again to someone new. "Kaya na. May kaba, may kaba lang talaga na 'Ito na! Ito na naman!' (I can. There's just jitters, like 'Here we go! Here we go again!)" she told talk show host Boy Abunda on "Tonight with Boy Abunda". "The past few relationships, hindi naman ako kinabahan eh. 'Yung mga huli, sige, game! Laban lang 'yan(With the past few relationships, I wasn't nervous. With the recent ones, okay, game! Fight on)!" Panganiban exclaimed. But now, she shared that she has mellowed and is being more careful. Asked if she was dating again, she answered, "Lum...Keep on reading: Angelica Panganiban on falling in love again: ‘May kaba lang’.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 13th, 2018

1 bedroom Condominium For Sale in Munoz for 2,233,800 – Web reference 112160215 – Property for sale Philippines : Property24

Developer: DMCI Homes Project Name: ZINNIA TOWERS READY FOR OCCUPANCY CONDO LOCATION: EDSA Munoz Balintawak Quezon city SM North 1.6Km Trinoma 1.9Km Eton Centris 2.9Km UP-Ayala Technohub 4.2Km UP-Diliman 5.9Km Philippine Science High School 2.8Km Veterans Memorial Medical Center 2.5Km East Avenue Medical Center 3.7Km Philippine Heart Center 3.7Km Lung Center 3.3Km Philippine Kidney Dialysis… link: 1 bedroom Condominium For Sale in Munoz for 2,233,800 – Web reference 112160215 – Property for sale Philippines : Property24.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsJan 12th, 2018

Strong run defense could power Alabama past Georgia

JOHN ZENOR, AP Sports Writer ATLANTA (AP) — Alabama's vaunted defense is about to face perhaps college football's best running back duo. Those kinds of matchups tend to work out pretty well for the fourth-ranked Crimson Tide, which shuts down opposing ground games better than anybody. Only Auburn in the regular season meeting has truly contained Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. With the nation's top defense, Alabama is well equipped to at least defend them well enough to win Monday night's national championship game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Leading that charge will be linebacker Rashaan Evans, safety Minkah Fitzpatrick and defensive tackle Da'Ron Payne. Payne is ready to get back to doing what he does best after a Sugar Bowl interception and touchdown catch. "I've just been trying to focus on being dominant up front, for real," Payne said. Being dominant up front, on both sides of the ball, has been a big part of Alabama's success under coach Nick Saban. This team's no different. Alabama also has a veteran secondary to contend with the passing of Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm. Fromm has had a terrific freshman season, but he struggled when Auburn's defense held Chubb and Michel to a combined 48 rushing yards. The Tide does have to replace yet another starting linebacker with Anfernee Jennings out with a knee injury sustained in the Sugar Bowl win over Clemson. That leaves probably Terrell Lewis or Jamey Mosley to start. Linebacker Mack Wilson was already a first-time starter in the Sugar Bowl and had a pick six and a career-high six tackles. "Once we lose one man, it's the next man up," Tide defensive lineman Isaiah Buggs said. "Alabama recruits the best of the best so you always have to be locked in and ready to go, because you never know when it's your time. Having Mack Wilson step up and have a bigtime game, everybody on the defense trusts him and I think he's going to have another big game." Offensively, Alabama has playmakers like quarterback Jalen Hurts, tailback Damien Harris and wide receiver Calvin Ridley. The Tide does have to replace guard Lester Cotton, who suffered a knee injury in the semifinal game. If history holds up, Alabama will have an edge in another regard. Saban has a perfect track record against former assistants like Georgia coach Kirby Smart. He's 11-0 and none of them have come closer than 17 points against his Tide teams. Saban has also had a full year to emphasize to his team "Don't waste a failure" since a title game loss to Clemson. Alabama is a slight favorite for this game, just like in the semifinals, but can summon up a little extra motivation from critics of the Tide's choice over Big Ten champion Ohio State for the final playoff spot. It all worked to the tune of a 24-6 win in the playoff rematch with the Tigers. "The real challenge will be, can we duplicate that kind of energy in this game," Saban said. Prediction: Alabama 31, Georgia 17 ___ More AP college football: www.collegefootball.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP_Top25.....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJan 7th, 2018

North Korea leader says nuclear button always on his desk

  North Korean leader Kim Jong-un warned Monday that his country's nuclear arsenal was complete and the launch button was always on his desk, even as he expressed a willingness to send a delegation to the upcoming PyeongChang Olympics. While showing defiance to the US, Kim struck a conciliatory note toward Seoul, saying he was open to resuming bilateral talks to discuss the North's participation in the Olympics if South Korea is ready to halt joint military exercises. The young leader's mixed message -- nuclear threats toward Washington and a conciliatory tone toward Seoul -- is part of the North's "peaceful offensive" strategy aimed at improving inter-Korean ties as a ...Keep on reading: North Korea leader says nuclear button always on his desk.....»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsJan 1st, 2018

Six standout local volleybelles of 2017

We’ve seen them shine this year whether in the collegiate stage, in the club leagues or even in the international scene. These six Pinay volleyball players took the sport’s limelight in the year that’s about to end.     DESIREE CHENG Desiree Cheng came into De La Salle University during the time bitter rival Ateneo de Manila University got the Lady Spikers’ number. From Seasons 76 to 77, Cheng saw her team fall prey to the might of the Lady Eagles in the UAAP Finals. Then redemption came in Season 78. Unfortunately, the 5-foot-8 spiker was forced to watch from the sidelines with an ACL tear as her crew reclaimed the crown. A year after, Cheng got her biggest break. DLSU lost most of its veteran core after Season 78 and needed another scoring option. Cheng heeded the call. Though Cheng struggled at the start of the eliminations, the hitter slowly got her groove back and delivered when DLSU needed offense in their sixth straight championship showdown against Ateneo. Cheng was the X-factor for the Ramil De Jesus-mentored squad during the series. Her contributions both on offense and floor defense played a huge part in the Lady Spikers’ series sweep of the Lady Eagles for the school’s 10th title. Cheng also helped F2 Logistics claim the Cargo Movers’ breakthrough Philippine Superliga Grand Prix title and a runner-up finish in the All-Filipino Conference.   ALYSSA VALDEZ Although Alyssa Valdez failed to claim a crown in the Premier Volleyball League this year and a continued title drought since 2016, the Phenom’s magic remains. She can still fill up game venues whenever she takes the court and 2017 proved as the former Queen Eagles’ biggest year in terms of her flourishing volleyball career. Valdez brought her talents abroad, landing a stint with 3BB Nakornnont in the Thai League and in the Thai-Denmark Superleague where her team finished third in both tournaments. After her appearance in Thailand, Valdez donned the Creamline jersey and led the Rebisco franchise to a bronze medal finish both in the PVL Reinforced and Open conferences. Valdez also had another tour of duty, playing for the national team in the AVC Asian Women’s Senior Volleyball Championship and the 29th Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The 24-year old hitter got another international gig when she was tapped by Attack Line to play in the Chinese-Taipei Volleyball League.          Outside volleyball, Valdez has a blooming relationship with basketball star Kiefer Ravena. If she’s not busy with her volleyball and other commitments, Valdez also drew attention as one of the newest member of the so-called PBA players’ WAGS (wives and girlfriends) cheering for Ravena and the NLEX Road Warriors.      DAWN MACANDILI She may be only 5-foot tall but Dawn Macandili stood alongside Asia’s volleyball giants this year. The De La Salle University libero was the catalyst in the Lady Spikers’ back-to-back UAAP championship run. Her pesky floor defense frustrated DLSU’s rivals while giving her teammates a good first ball to operate their lethal offense.  But her biggest showing was when she landed a spot in the national team that competed in the AVC Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship and in the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games. A first-timer donning the national colors, Macandili did not disappoint as she earned the respect and admiration of Japanese coaches and trainers during the Nationals’ training camp in Japan. She performed even better when the PHI hosted the AVC Asian Seniors. Ms. Everywhere gave teams like Asian powerhouse Vietnam, Kazakhstan, South Korea and Thailand a hard time with her floor defense. All her efforts caught the eyes of the AVC tournament officials and she was rewarded with the historic 2nd Best Libero award. She made the final list of in the national team that participated in the SEA Games. Back in the local scene, Macandili helped F2 Logistics to runner-up finish in the PSL All-Filipino Conference and a breakthrough crown in the Grand Prix.    JAJA SANTIAGO Tall, powerful and versatile, Jaja Santiago is a force to reckon with.  At 6-foot-5, Santiago dominated the Premier Volleyball League Collegiate Conference as she led the National University Lady Bulldogs to a perfect championship run. She also bagged the conference’s Most Valuable Player award. Though NU failed to make it in the Final Four of UAAP for the second straight year, Santiago’s effort for the Lady Bulldogs was rewarded with a third straight Best Attacker award to go with the Best Scorer and Best Blocker recognitions. In the PSL, Santiago was a consistent scorer for the Foton Tornadoes in the All-Filipino Conference and the Grand Prix. Under the tutelage of Serbian import Moro Branislav, Santiago became an even more dangerous and versatile player. Aside from her natural position as a middle blocker, she can now wreak havoc on both wings the puts her height advantage to good use. She made it into the national team that competed in the AVC Asian Seniors and SEA Games and was the Nationals’ scoring ace. Santiago received an offer from Thai powerhouse Bangkok Glass but declined the offer to play in her last year with the Lady Bulldogs.             KIM FAJARDO Setter Kim Fajardo left winning legacy when she played her swan song for DLSU. It took her a few months to decide to play her fifth year with the Lady Spikers. Leading a young crew after the departure of the core of the Season 78 championship squad, Fajardo faced a tough challenge in the Taft-based squad’s title-retention bid. But the Batanguena proved her worth as a leader and the skipper rallied the Lady Spikers back into the Finals in a sixth straight collision against bitter rival Ateneo. Fajardo’s composure carried DLSU in a tough Game 1 match and again in the five-set title-clincher to complete the Lady Spikers’ series sweep of the Lady Eagles. She earned a spot in the national team as a starting setter. Fajardo steered F2 Logistics to its first PSL Grand Prix crown bagged the conference’s Best Setter award. She helped the Cargo Movers to a runner-up finish in the All-Filipino Conference.     JOVIELYN PRADO Silent but deadly. Jovielyn Prado may not be the typical vocal leader but her presence inside the court is enough to rally the Arellano University Lady Chiefs to meet their goals. The outside hitter proved her worth to the Lady Chiefs when she led the Legarda-based squad back on the NCAA women’s volleyball throne. A year removed from the title, Arellano U turned to Prado to provide the spark the Lady Chiefs needed to make another shot at the crown. Consistent, efficient and effective, Prado delivered for the Obet Javier-mentored squad. Arellano U advanced in the stepladder semifinals and dethroned College of St. Benilde to set up a date with thrice-to-beat, three-time Most Valuable Player Grethcel Soltones-led San Sebastian College. Undaunted even with a great series disadvantage, Prado played her best three games of the season to power the Lady Chiefs to an impressive sweep of the Lady Stags. Prado continued her great performance in the PVL Reinforced and Open Conference playing for the Power Smashers. She then bannered the Lady Chiefs to a bronze medal finish in the Collegiate Conference at the expense of UAAP team Adamson University.   --- Follow this writer on Twitter, @fromtheriles   .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

2 bedroom Condominium For Sale in Panay Avenue for 3,200,000 – Web reference 112121336 – Property for sale Philippines : Property24

Victoria Towers Tower D (Few Units Left) -Bi-Level 2-3BR Units -Located at the Heart of Quezon City Ready for Occupancy 9k/month For your assistant: please call or text Dulce Ventucillo 0915-307-0505 Source link: 2 bedroom Condominium For Sale in Panay Avenue for 3,200,000 – Web reference 112121336 – Property for sale Philippines : Property24.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsDec 28th, 2017

Cross Court: Basketball-volleyball power couples

Aside from titles won, awards garnered and lessons learned this year, a handful of Filipino athletes have found, and nurtured love between another fellow sports star. One could just imagine how two hearts meet in the harsh battlefield of sports especially coming from different fronts. Fate led some of the stars from the country’s top two sports – basketball and volleyball – to cross paths and develop a blooming romance. Here are some of the power couples coming from the said sports.   Bong and Mozzy Ravena The perfect example in this list. Bong was a successful basketball star during his UAAP days with University of the East, the PBA and MBA while Mozzy donned the University of Sto. Tomas jersey as a volleyball varsity player. The union produced three kids who followed their footsteps. Kiefer and Thirdy are making their own mark as basketball standouts while their sister Dani has a budding career as a rookie setter for Ateneo de Manila University.         Kiefer Ravena and Alyssa Valdez What is a King Phenom without a Queen Phenom? Arguably, the most popular sports couple of this generation, former Ateneo de Manila University King Eagle Kiefer Ravena and ex-Queen Eagle Alyssa Valdez are the equivalent of the country’s best teleserye loveteams.       LA Revilla and Denden Lazaro   I love you past the moon and beyond the stars, baby ❤️ Happy Valentine's Day! ❤️ . @larevilla A post shared by Dennise Lazaro (@denniselazaro) on Feb 14, 2017 at 4:05am PST Whoever said that blue and green won’t mix has been living under a rock. Say that to this sweet couple of ex-De La Salle University and current Kia guard LA Revilla and former Ateneo de Manila University and current Cocolife libero Denden Lazaro.   Philip Manalang and Cesca Racraquin   Walo ❤️ A post shared by Cesca Racraquin (@cescarac) on Aug 25, 2017 at 11:17pm PDT Red is the color of love. Well, at least for this couple Cesca Racraquin of San Beda College Lady Red Spikers and University of the East Red Warrior Philip Manalang.   Alfren Gayosa and Grethcel Soltones Home 🏡 bound with this one ❤🌹👑💏💍👣 @ladybeast05 💪🏻 pic.twitter.com/Kq0un7HjkM — Alfren Gayosa (@eeeeerjordan15) June 24, 2017 Fun, bubbly, sweet and chill. San Sebastian College cager Alfren Gayosa and former Lady Stags spiker and three-time NCAA MVP Grethcel Soltones’ relationship is simply described that way.   Myla Pablo and Patrick Aquino As the old saying goes, in love ‘age doesn’t matter.’ National University women’s basketball team coach Patrick Aquino and former Lady Bulldogs spiker Myla Pablo proved that. Some say that it is a May-December love affair but hey who are we to judge? Oh by the way, we’ll be hearing wedding bells soon.   Aby Marano and Robert Bolick The last time Aby Marano visited ABS-CBN Sports’ Down the Line, the former De La Salle University middle readily answered that if her boyfriend Robert Bolick of San Beda College asks her hand right that very moment, without second thought, she’ll say ‘yes’.   Kib Montalbo and Desiree Cheng   ❤️ A post shared by Kib Montalbo (@kibmontalbo) on Aug 20, 2017 at 6:12am PDT Is KibRee for real? Let’s just hope that the De La Salle University Green Archers’ ‘man of steal’ will capture the heart of Lady Spiker and UAAP Season 79 Finals MVP Desiree Cheng to officially put that question to rest.   Arvin Tolentino and Brandy Kramer   There's no place I'd rather be A post shared by Arvin Tolentino (@arvintolentino5) on Jul 5, 2017 at 3:43am PDT Three years and counting. Judging from this picture, there’s no letting go between Far Eastern University cager Arvin Tolentino and former San Beda College Lady Red Spiker Brandy Kramer, who is the younger sister of cager Doug.   Chico Manabat and Dindin Santiago - Manabat   First!🤗🤣 A post shared by Dindin Santiago Manabat (@dindinquickermanabat) on Aug 14, 2017 at 8:41am PDT Two years of marriage and an adorable daughter, National University Bullpups assistant coach Chico Manabat and Foton middle Dindin are a picture of a happy family.     Junemar Fajardo and Aeriael Patnongon Saturdate ❤️ pic.twitter.com/pniFpWnEC2 — Aerieal Patnongon (@iamaeriealituh) April 8, 2017 San Miguel Beer center Junemar Fajaro is one big, tall and tough man. Only Creamline middle Aerieal Patnongon can make this big, tall and tough man’s heart skip a beat.  .....»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 26th, 2017

Ohtani bids farewell to Japan fans ahead of Angels adventure

SAPPORO, Japan (AP) — Los Angeles Angels-bound Shohei Ohtani bid farewell to fans of his former Japanese club on Monday as he sets off to join his new team. The star pitcher and hitter wore an Angels jersey to his public news conference. He opened with an introduction in English, saying: "Long time, no see. I'm Shohei Ohtani. Welcome to my press conference. Please enjoy." The Sapporo Dome crowd erupted in laughter and applause. For five seasons, Ohtani called Sapporo home, playing for the Nippon Ham Fighters. He intends to be a starting pitcher and everyday hitter with the Angels. Ohtani, the reigning Pacific League MVP, threw one final ceremonial pitch from the Sapporo Dome mound. He spurned other major league offers to join two-time MVP Mike Trout and slugger Albert Pujols. The Angels are coming off their second consecutive losing season and haven't won a playoff game since 2009. Ohtani was 3-2 with a 3.20 ERA while slowed by thigh and ankle injuries. But those numbers don't indicate the potential for a pitcher whose fastball has topped 100 mph. Scouts are more divided on Ohtani's ability to consistently hit big-league pitching. He hit .332 in 65 games with eight homers and 31 RBIs last season, occasionally unleashing the tape-measure blasts that captivated prospective teams. In 2016, Ohtani hit .322 with 22 home runs and 67 RBIs in 104 games. He also was 10-4 with a 1.86 ERA. Ohtani will attempt to chart a rare career path, the majors' first regular two-way player in decades. He has drawn numerous, if unfair, comparisons to Babe Ruth, who excelled as a hitter and a pitcher early in his Hall of Fame career. The Angels plan to use Ohtani as a hitter and a pitcher, and the 23-year-old player said Monday he is confident he can succeed in both in a more challenging environment. Since joining the Angels this month, it was revealed that Ohtani injured the elbow of his pitching arm at the end of this past season. A leaked medical report sent to all MLB clubs showed a Grade 1 sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament and he received a platelet-rich-plasma injection in October. But the injury is not considered serious and Japanese media reports last week showed Ohtani taking batting practice and throwing long toss. The Angels have said they are not concerned and they expect Ohtani to be ready for spring training......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 25th, 2017

Picanto didn’t need Standhardinger to keep up with Road Warriors

NLEX needed a super rookie showing from Kiefer Ravena and a clutch four-point play from Larry Fonacier to fend off lowly Kia on Wednesday. Yes, “The Phenom” was the headline with 18 points, 12 rebounds, seven assists, and two steals in his professional debut, but all of it was all for naught as the Picanto nearly pulled off a big-time upset. Inside the last 60 seconds, the Road Warriors, widely-regarded as the tournament’s darkhorse, was only boosted ahead once and for all by Fonacier’s long-range bomb and bonus. At the end of it all, falling short was not so bad for a Kia side that had all of six wins and no playoff appearance for all of last season. Even more so for a Kia side that was awarded the top pick in the 2017 PBA Draft only to trade what turned out to be game-changing Christian Standhardinger for a so-called unconventional package of Rashawn McCarthy, Jay-R Reyes, and Ronald Tubid. That was exactly what was on the mind of head coach Chris Gavina post-game. “As a coach, you kind of hate to say moral victory, but considering what happened to us last conference, (it’s good to see) we showed our grit tonight,” he said. He then continued, “We showed a great deal of character in being able to keep up with what I feel is one of the contenders coming into this conference. If we can do this against NLEX, we can do this against anybody.” Specifically, Gavina said he loved the heart and hustle he saw from each and every one of his wards. “Effort-wise, we were there,” he expressed. Indeed, the Picanto won the battle of offensive rebounds, 17-10, as well as steals, 8-6. That effort led to the lowly squad being in command for majority of the matchup only to be outdone in edgame execution. “It just came down to the end where they executed better than us, but for us to control the time with the lead for 32 minutes, this goes to show that we’re more than capable of keeping up with a team like NLEX,” Gavina said. In the end, Kia believes that this inspiring debut just proved that they are serious about competing and winning. As team-high scorer Eric Camson put it, “Iba na talaga ang Kia ngayon, ‘di na tulad ng dati. Iniisip nilang ‘di kami mananalo, pero nasa isip namin, bago nila kami talunin, duduguin muna sila.” He then continued, “Sobrang willing kaming ipakita na pag Kia, ‘di ganun kadali kalaban. Kung matalo man, mahihirapan ang kalaban.” —- Follow this writer on Twitter, @riegogogo......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 20th, 2017

Kemp back in LA, Gonzalez out in 5-player deal with Braves

By Beth Harris, Associated Press Matt Kemp is returning to the place where he began his major league career, reacquired by the Los Angeles Dodgers on Saturday as part of a five-player trade with the Atlanta Braves that creates more financial flexibility for the reigning NL champions. The Dodgers sent first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, oft-injured starting pitchers Scott Kazmir and Brandon McCarthy, infielder Charlie Culberson and cash to Atlanta for the 33-year-old Kemp. Gonzalez agreed to waive his no-trade clause after receiving assurance from the Braves that he would be designated for assignment since they are already set at first base with Freddie Freeman. “This allows him the opportunity to go and find some playing time,” new Braves general manager Alex Anthopoulos said. After sitting on the sidelines during the recent winter meetings, the Dodgers moved quickly to dump nearly $50 million in salary committed to Gonzalez, Kazmir and McCarthy for 2018. Kemp is owed about $43 million over the next two seasons. Los Angeles was looking to reduce baseball’s highest payroll of $240 million last season as a way of lowering exposure to higher luxury taxes. The deal made sense for the Braves, too, since the players they acquired all have expiring contracts. “It puts us in an even greater financial position going forward and going into next offseason as well,” said Anthopoulos, who was hired from the Dodgers. Kemp played for the Dodgers from 2006-14, hitting 182 home runs, fourth-most in Los Angeles history. The outfielder hit .276 with 19 homers, 64 RBIs and 23 doubles in 115 games last season with the Braves. Moving Kemp opens up a potential roster spot for top Braves prospect Ronald Acuna, who turns 20 on Monday. He was the most valuable player of the Arizona Fall League and Baseball America’s minor league player of the year. “We expect Ronald Acuna to be a very good player for a very long time,” Anthopoulos said. “When he’s ready to go, we’re going to look to make room for him and certainly a deal like this won’t hurt.” The 35-year-old Gonzalez helped the Dodgers win five straight NL West division titles after being acquired from the Red Sox in August 2012. He was an All-Star in 2015 and led the NL in RBIs in 2014, but went on the disabled list with a herniated disk in his back last season for the first time in his career. He was usurped at first base by NL Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger. Gonzalez is owed $21.5 million in the final year of a $154 million, seven-year contract that the Dodgers absorbed in the 2012 trade with Boston. Kazmir didn’t pitch last season because of a hip injury, one of many in his career. The 33-year-old left-hander went 10-6 with a 4.56 ERA in 26 starts in 2016, his first with the Dodgers. He is owed $15 million in 2018. “I spoke to him and he’s pretty encouraged and excited about the work he’s been able to do in the offseason, so we’re excited to get a look at him in camp,” Anthopoulos said. “If we can get him back and he can bounce back, there’s certainly some upside there.” McCarthy was 11-7 with a 4.51 ERA in 29 starts over three seasons with the Dodgers. The 34-year-old right-hander missed most of 2015 and 2016 after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He went on the DL three times last season, when he was limited to 19 appearances and went 6-4 with a 3.98 ERA. McCarthy was added to the Dodgers’ World Series roster after missing the first two rounds. He gave up a home run in extra innings of a Game 2 loss to Houston in his only appearance. He is owed $12 million in the last year of a $48 million, four-year deal. Anthopoulos said he sees McCarthy being in the Braves’ rotation, which needs a veteran arm after not re-signing knuckleballer R.A. Dickey and releasing Bartolo Colon during last season. “He came back at the end of the year and was on the World Series roster because of how good he looked, how good his stuff was, up to 94 (mph) and he started throwing a slider that he just added at the end of the year,” Anthopoulos said. “I’m excited about him, think there is an upside to him.” ___ AP Sports Writer Charles Odum in Atlanta contributed to this report......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 17th, 2017

Oladipo, Sabonis helping Pacers move forward

By Steve Aschburner, NBA.com INDIANAPOLIS – Victor Oladipo has a fever and the only prescription is ... no, not more cowbell. Cowbell might make sense, if you factor in Oladipo’s love of and commitment to music (his debut R&B album has been available since Oct. 6). But the fever currently afflicting Oladipo, shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers, has nothing to do with extracurriculars and everything to do with the odes and anthems he’s been performing within the confines of 94 feet by 50 feet. If the fifth-year guard out of Indiana University, by way of the Orlando Magic and Oklahoma City Thunder, looks comfortable in his new star turn for the Pacers, well, just remember that’s your word. Not his. “You could say I’m comfortable with the people here,” says Oladipo, who spent three seasons with the Hoosiers before becoming the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. “I played in front of these fans, they mean a lot to me and I gave a lot to them just like they gave a lot to me while I was in college. “But I’m never comfortable in any situation I’m in. I will never be comfortable. That’s what kind of makes me get up and work every day. It’s like, never be satisfied. Because for some reason, ever since I was a little kid, I always wanted more.” Oladipo’s eyes just about glow after a weekend practice as he delves into his unflagging intensity. He doesn’t undercut it with a smile or a token laugh. This is real heat. “Maximize my talent and exhaust my potential,” he says. “In order to do that, I’ve got to come to work every day. That’s my thought process. Wake up each day and be great that day.” Each day would include tonight, when Oladipo will share center stage at Bankers Life Fieldhouse with the more decorated and once-beloved star who preceded him in the Pacers lineup. Paul George, a four-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist during his seven seasons in Indiana, was due to face his old team for the first time since being traded to Oklahoma City in July. It was a parting necessitated by George, who had made clear his desire to sign a maximum-salary contract with the Los Angeles Lakers in the summer of 2018. But the trade was orchestrated by Kevin Pritchard, the Pacers’ president of basketball operations, and Chad Buchanan, their general manager, who surprised the NBA by swapping George to OKC for Oladipo and big man Domantas Sabonis. You want intense? The initial reaction to that deal was intensely negative, quickly reaching hysterical proportions. The Pacers immediately were mocked for having traded George for nickels on the dollar. Reports out of Boston characterized Indiana’s POBO as more of a bobo for allegedly spurning a Celtics’ offer of multiple players and draft picks. *Takes a well deserved nap for 3 hours ** Opens Twitter: pic.twitter.com/xWNYaVfKTy — Myl3s Turn3r (@Original_Turner) July 1, 2017 The west is sick!!!! Best conference in the world!!!! — Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) July 1, 2017 Vic to the Pacers?! He might as well run for governor while he's at it! — Cody Zeller (@CodyZeller) July 1, 2017 Former Thunder star Kevin Durant called the move “shocking” and of George said “Indiana just gave him away.” Among much of the media that covers the league, there was a general feeling of “rubes” afoot -- that the Pacers had been snookered in taking back an overpaid ($21 million annually through 2020-21) second-tier talent and an overbilled guy who had disappeared in OKC’s postseason. And now? Not so much on any of those fronts. ‘He knows how good he is’ George’s stats are down in the “OK3” core he’s formed with reigning Kia MVP Russell Westbrook and aging Carmelo Anthony. The Thunder (12-13) are the NBA’s consensus disappointment, team category, with nearly a third of their season in the books. Sabonis has boosted the Pacers off the bench in a half dozen ways. And Oladipo has all but earned himself a spot on the Eastern Conference All-Star team while speeding his new team’s fans past their heartbreak over George’s jilting. Generally, the best trades in sports are win-win, but for Indiana right now, a bit of win-lose has made the start of 2017-18 downright sublime. “We happened to really like Sabonis in the draft,” former Pacers president and ongoing consultant Donnie Walsh said last week. “We wanted more of everything in the trade too. But when it came down to it, we had this offer with Oladipo, who we also liked. They’ve come in here and the more they’ve been here, the more we like ‘em. We’re happy.” The Pacers also are 16-11, two weeks ahead in the victory column over their 42-40 finish last season that was good for a playoff berth. Oladipo is the biggest reason why, averaging more points per game (24.5) than George ever has. The 6'4" guard who attended famous DeMatha High in Hyattsville, Md., spent much of last season being beaten up for his contract and negligible impact in Oklahoma City. He had taken grief earlier for his status as the second pick in 2013, a lofty status not of his doing. And here he was again in the summer, hearing it all over again for a transaction he didn’t design. “He came in with a chip [on his shoulder],” Pacers coach Nate McMillan said. “I thought he should come in with a chip.” Some would have flinched from the pressure. A few might have curled up, full blown fetal. Oladipo has gone entirely the other way. “His confidence is at an all-time high,” backup point guard Cory Joseph said. “He knows how good he is.” As Joseph spoke after the Pacers’ upset of Cleveland Friday, a game in which Oladipo scored 20 of his game-high 33 points in the third quarter, a lilting voice drifted from behind the scenes in the home dressing room. “Look at it right now, he’s singing in the shower,” Joseph said, tilting his head and laughing. “He’s confident. You guys are all in here, he’s just singing. He’s a confident guy. Everybody in this locker room, everybody in this organization definitely welcomes that.” Trade not driving Oladipo’s breakout season Don’t misunderstand. The critics still are out for Oladipo. “My mom told me yesterday I need to work on my free throws,” he said with an eye roll after practice Saturday (Sunday, PHL time). She had noticed, during her son’s run of big games in December -- 36 points at Toronto, 27 vs. Chicago, 33 against the Cavs the night before her chiding text -- that he had missed 18-of-31 foul shots. This, by a career 80 percent shooter from the line. “I’m over that,” Oladipo said. “I’m not going to miss no more. I’ll make ‘em next time. And if I miss ‘em, I’ll make ‘em the next. If that’s my problem right now, I think I can fix it.” Twenty-four hours later, Oladipo took 13 free throws against Denver and made 11. He scored 47 points in all, hitting 15-of-28 shots and half of his 12 three-pointers. The comeback victory in OT got the Pacers to 4-for-4 on their six-game homestand and continued to shrink whatever chip it was that the 25-year-old was shouldering. “In the beginning of the year, I said, ‘I don’t have a chip. I have a brick house on my back,’” Oladipo said. But not anymore, right, now that some folks are referring to it as “the Victor Oladipo trade” rather than “the Paul George trade?” “That’s what I feel like every morning, no matter what’s going on,” he said. “I don’t even think about the trade, honestly. It’s in the past for me. People’s opinions are going to be there whether you like it or not. From the outside looking in, I guess you could say [then] that was a great trade for OKC. That’s what they believed. But it wasn’t going to change the way I worked. It wasn’t going to change my approach.” This step up in status is considered perhaps the most difficult an NBA player can make. Suddenly, opposing coaches are X&O-ing him to death. The player dogging him up and down the court is the other guys’ best defender. Often, they’ll send double-teams to get the ball into one of his teammates’ hands. “He hadn’t had that,” McMillan said. “When he was in OKC, the game plan was focused on Westbrook. When he was in Orlando, he was just a young player. Now he is seeing the defenders like a LeBron [James], like a [DeMar] DeRozan, what these stars are seeing. He’s seeing the best defenders and he’s seeing teams game-plan to take him out. “Learning how to play and be consistent every night with that challenge is something he’s going through.” Oladipo’s quick success with the Pacers has kept any crowd critics at bay. They were pre-disposed to like him just as their rebound date after George, but had he underperformed, Oladipo’s service time in Bloomington wouldn’t have protected him for long from criticism. But now, it’s George who likely will get the harsh reception. Oladipo, overtly after each of the recent victories, has made it clear to the home fans via some emphatic pointing and body language that the Fieldhouse happens to be his house. “I don’t say it, they say it,” he said. “I just do the gesture and they do the rest of the work for me. I let them do all the talking. We feed off them -- when they’re into it, we play better. I don’t know why, that’s just how basketball’s always been. They’re our sixth man and we need ‘em every night.” Oladipo’s breakout season has been bolstered, too, by the Pacers’ second-through-15th men. Those who already were in Indy knew how valuable George was at both ends. Those who, like Oladipo and Sabonis, were new this season were within their rights to be as skeptical as the national headlines of the guys coming in trade. Go-to guy emerges for Pacers OKC was a specific challenge, Oladipo having to learn on the fly how to fit his own darting, ball-heavy style to only the second man in NBA history to average a triple-double. Westbrook’s usage was off the charts, rendering the other Thunder players to supporting cast whether suited to that role or not. Just like that, Oladipo had to catch and shoot as someone to get Westbrook into double digits in assists. It wasn’t his nature and it made for an individually forgettable season. “I had a role. I tried to play that role to the best of my ability. And I improved certain areas of my game in that role,” was all he’d say Saturday, stiffly, about the OKC experience. Said Walsh: “I felt like he was going to get a different opportunity here. ... When he got to Oklahoma City, he was playing wih a guy who was averaging a triple-double. And he liked Russell Westbrook. But he comes here, he’s got an opportunity to be ‘our guy.’ “I think he might have been looking for that. I never asked him. He’s a really cool guy. He knows what he wants to be, I think.” Oladipo needed this and the Pacers needed him to need it. With George gone, they were like a smile missing a front tooth. The other teeth weren’t just going to move up in the pecking order -- no matter how good young big man Myles Turner is -- and replace the one they’d lost. If they were going to have any success this season, if McMillan was going to be able to coach and adjust in his second year taking over for Frank Vogel, the players needed to fill their roles and welcome this new addition. That’s why this tale of Oladipo’s growing success is about what the Pacers have done for him, as much as it is what he’s done for them. “We didn’t really present it like that,” McMillan said, “because we were still trying to develop who our ‘go-to guy’ was. He has been slowly taking on that role through the things he’s done. I haven’t had to say anything. He’s making good decisions with the ball. And the guys are getting a feel for what we’re doing down the stretch because we’ve had some success, and we’ve had it with Victor having the ball.” Chemistry change for Pacers There might be NBA teams with chemistry as solid as the Pacers’ right now, but it’s hard to imagine there are any with better. It’s more than mere relief that someone has stepped up, easing their own loads a bit. It is a genuine eagerness for Oladipo to max out, for each of the rest of them to do the same in whatever lane they’re riding. “Vic’s been everything at this point,” Turner said. “He’s done a great job of stepping up and being that guy, being that dude. It’s amazing to have that when you’re going through a situation where it’s a brand-new team. We’re still learning each other and he’s showing that he’s ready.” Did Turner know this would happen and, if so, when? “First couple days he started texting me in the summertime,” the big man said. “I saw what his mindset was, and I loved it from the jump. He carried that right in when we started playing pickup this summer. “Vic’s been traded, what, [two] times? He finally comes back home and he has a team that’s telling him to go, telling him to be him. I don’t think he had that with his former teams. Now that he’s here and he’s doing that, I’m pretty sure he’s [enjoying it].” Said Joseph: “He’s been a beast for us and he’s going to continue to be a beast for us. ... He’s been running with that opportunity and opening eyes around the world.” Even strong-willed, uber-confident Lance Stephenson, has backed up for Oladipo. “There’s no hate, know what I mean?” he said over the weekend. “Some guys get mad about somebody doing good. This team wants its teammates to do good. That’s what’s going to make us even better.” Oladipo keeps referring to the other Pacers in a legit lubricating of the “no I in Indy” process. “Honestly I think it’s the personalities and the men that we have in this locker room,” he said. “My teammates are phenomenal people -- not just basketball players, phenomenal people. When you surround yourself with great people, people who sincerely care about you and your team, the chemistry just comes naturally.” Sabonis shows glimpses of success, too The other guy in the trade, Sabonis, has developed more organically, his maturation seemingly inevitable regardless of locale when you tote up his youth, his work ethic and his bloodlines (son of Hall of Famer Arvydas Sabonis). He has gone from that rookie who logged just six minutes in the Thunder’s five 2017 playoff games against Houston to an essential piece in McMillan’s rotation. “Once I got traded, I knew this was a great opportunity for me to show people what I can really do,” said Sabonis, the No. 11 pick in 2016. “I was a rookie last year. Everything was new. Here, I’m being used more at the 5. That’s more the position I’ve been used to playing my whole life.” Sabonis’ minutes are up from 20.1 in OKC to 24.6 off Indiana’s bench. His scoring has doubled from 5.9 ppg to 12.1. And his PIE rating has soared from 4.9 last season to 12.6, a sign of the versatility the skilled big man possesses. “I love Sabonis,” Walsh said. “His father was one of the greatest players in the world, so I don’t like that comparison -- it kills him. He [Domantas] is just more of everything you think he is. He’s stronger than you think. He can shoot the ball better. He’s got good hands, he can catch the ball. I’ve seen him make moves in game that I’ve never seen him make in practice.” Said Turner: “I played against Domas in college -- I knew what kind of player he was. I was excited when we got him. He’s gotten bigger and stronger since then, obviously, and he just didn’t have a chance to show himself last year. But he’s been big for us now, especially when I was out with the concussion. He stepped up huge in that role and we’ve played well since then.” The Pacers are playing faster this season, up from 18th in pace last season to 10th now, part of their improvement from 15th in offensive rating (106.2) to 6th (108.3). They’re doing better, too, in contesting shots and throttling opponents’ field-goal accuracy. The biggest reason why has been Oladipo’s blossoming. Whether due to the sunshine of new, happier surroundings or from that darker, more intense place, to prove cynics wrong. No one can now talk of the Pacers’ bungling of what, after all, was a deal to rent George, not to have him long-term. Fans at Bankers Life figure to boo George on his first visit back, with an inventory they haven’t needed or used on Oladipo. Some might see that as ingratitude, others as respect. It’s a little bit of love lost, too. “Look, they loved Paul when he was here,” Walsh said. “They guy is a great player. One thing I’ve always felt: These guys that play here, they always know more about what they want for their lives than we do. How you gonna argue with that? He treated us good, we treated him good. No bad blood here. I don’t know about fans.” Folks in Indy have a new crush now, one they hope lasts for a while. Steve Aschburner has written about the NBA since 1980. You can e-mail him here, find his archive here and follow him on Twitter. The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA, its clubs or Turner Broadcasting......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsDec 14th, 2017

EARLIER: From heart to platter: An intimate gathering with Chef Tatung Sarthou a…

EARLIER: From heart to platter: An intimate gathering with Chef Tatung Sarthou as he showcased his latest offerings perfect for family gatherings and joyous moments. Celebrate the holiday season at Cafe Veranda, Taal Vista Hotel. #TaalVistaHotel #ChefTatung #LutongTatung Source link: EARLIER: From heart to platter: An intimate gathering with Chef Tatung Sarthou a….....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilainformerRelated NewsDec 2nd, 2017

Green Archers force winner-take-all Game 3

Ateneo de Manila University got the perfect start it wanted but De La Salle University dug deep from its arsenal to pull off an unthinkable come-from-behind Game 2 victory. As the Blue Eagles were getting ready for their coronation after leading by as much as 21 points in the first half, the Green Archers refused [...] The post Green Archers force winner-take-all Game 3 appeared first on The Manila Times Online......»»

Category: newsSource:  manilatimes_netRelated NewsNov 29th, 2017